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For those of us of a certain *ahem* age, hearing the word ‘tulips’ can tempt us to start singing Max Bygrave’s 1958 hit, ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’. The opening lines of that great British entertainer’s song start, ‘When its spring again, I’ll bring again, Tulips from Amsterdam’.

Mr Bygraves could oh-so easily have been singing about Arundel because when it’s spring again, the tulips arrive…in Arundel.

In Arundel Castle gardens, you can walk around the Tulip Festival from early April onwards but this may even be earlier depending on the weather. Tulips burst forth from herbaceous borders, spill over containers and create an unusual, striking display in the Castle’s grass labyrinth.

Where can I see tulips in Arundel?

If you want to enjoy tulip season, Arundel is the place to be in the UK.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Arundel Castle, this year the gardeners have created tiered shows of tulips in the Wildflower Garden which will ensure a colour-filled Festival like no other.

Covering the steep south facing castle banks, 10,000 Red Oxford Tulips can be seen in with over 70,000 new tulips and over 120 different named tulips all in bloom. These spectacular displays will sweep across the flower beds and can’t be matched anywhere else. What a magnificent sight to behold and not one to be missed.

The Antler Temple is a special feature this year and boasts a beautiful display of tulips. The gardeners have worked on this during the winter and it boasts a whole new interior/exterior. This feature is an absolute must to see!

The Arundel Castle gardeners have again been very busy as they have planted over 70,000 new tulips with over 120 different named tulips. Set against the stunning backdrop of Arundel Castle gardens, this will ensure a colour-filled Festival like no other and a spectacular display will sweep across the flower beds that can’t be matched anywhere else.

Another event not to be missed is Tulips on Tarrant Street! TARRANT ST INDEPENDENTS Tulip Festival, Arundel is run by the Tarrant St Independents and is a collective of all the wonderful businesses based in Tarrant St, who have collaborated with local residents to design a Tulip Trail on the street itself.

Throughout the month of April as the tulips at the castle bloom, the residents and businesses have created a tulip themed burst of spring and invite you to come and explore the Tarrant St Tulips.

Tarrant St, is only a three-minute walk from Arundel Castle and offers a unique collection of independent stores and the best coffee in town and if you’ve never experienced a Tulip Trail well, now is your chance to do so!


Arundel Castle’s Earls Garden

Arundel’s Earl’s Garden looking towards Oberon’s Palace

During the annual Arundel Castle Tulip Festival, the tulips burst into bloom from bulbs, which have slept soundly underground throughout the winter months. The coloured flowers catch our attention, and their colourful names capture our imagination.

Can you spot the Purple Prince, Curly Sue, Black Parrot, Flaming Flag, or Orange Emperor? Which tulip do you think is the Queen of the Night? We’ll give you a clue… look for the tulip flower so dark it almost looks black.  

Honeymoon Tulip

Where do tulips get their name?

Have you ever noticed that tulip flowers are symmetrical? It is thought their name comes from the Persian word for turban, which the flower heads are thought to resemble. 

Tulips, the bright, show-stopping flower in spring’s colour palette, originally grew in areas stretching from Southern Europe to Central Asia. From the 17th century onwards, tulips were popular throughout western Europe. So popular in fact that tulip bulbs were traded like stocks and shares.

Apeldoorn’s Elite Tulip

In 1636, stock exchanges dealt in tulip bulbs. Fortunes were made and lost as the price of tulip bulbs rose and then plummeted. Some people sold their land, valuables – and even houses – to invest in the tulip bulb market. In 1637, at the peak of the tulip bulb trading bubble, some single bulbs sold for more than ten times a skilled craftsman’s annual income!

Today, you can buy tulip bulbs cheaply, but their stunning spring show is priceless. With more than 150 species and 3,000 different varieties, there is a tulip for everyone. They are the 11th wedding anniversary flower and are often used in gift bouquets to send messages of love and best wishes. But be careful! Different tulip colours have different meanings.

Read on for our guide to choosing the right tulip for what you want to say…

  • White tulips symbolise forgiveness, respect, purity and honour.
  • Bright yellow tulips mean hope and cheerfulness.
  • If you want to send a message of deep love, choose red tulips, which symbolise eternal love and passion.
  • Pink tulips represent affection, caring, good wishes and love.

Purple tulips are resplendent against their green stalk – and they still signify elegance and royalty. For centuries, purple dye, which could only be made from a crushed Mediterranean sea snail, was a luxury that only the seriously wealthy could afford.  Purple became a signifier of status, so much so that in the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I inscribed rules governing who was permitted to wear purple into English law.  

Tips for growing tulips from Arundel Castle’s head gardener

field of tulips with arundel cathedral in background

Striking display in the Castle’s grass labyrinth

Arundel Castle’s head gardener Martin Duncan, who launched the Tulip Festival, with support from the Duke and Duchess and their family, shares his top tulip growing tips with us:

  • It is best to plant tulip bulbs in November so they do not rot in the ground.
  • If you are growing tulips in pots, make sure you water them regularly, so they do not dry out.
  • Tulips like half shade and half sunshine, so plant them in an area when they can ideally have both.
  • Whether you plant your tulips in a pot or the ground, make sure you plant the bulbs 4″ deep. This helps tulips grow back year after year.
potted tulips

Arundel Castle head gardener’s top tulip picks

If Martin has to choose two favourite tulip varieties, he will suggest –

  • Apeldoorn: a hardy bulb that returns year after year
  • Angélique: which has a gorgeous pink bloom and looks like a peony.

Foxtrot Tulip

When is the best time to see tulips in Arundel Castle?

To see Arundel tulips at their absolute best, you should plan to visit from early April. This is when you will be able to enjoy tulips throughout the castle gardens.

Because Arundel Castle is home to such a huge variety of tulip varieties, the floral display will continue for a few weeks. The best way to make sure you see the tulips in bloom is to check out the Arundel Castle website and their socials ( for more information.  

tulips and water fountains with lion heads

Are you ready to sing now? Do you remember the start of this blog? And are you old/young enough to remember the wonderful Max Bygraves? Come on, join in…

With a heart that’s true,

I’ll bring to you,

Tulips from Arundel

potted tulips outside door in stone wall

Written by Barb Hogan, Visit Arundel
Photos by Charlie Waring

With thanks to Arundel Castle and Head Gardener Martin Duncan

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